ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Highest Paid Lawyers in America: Where Attorneys Make the Best Salaries

Updated on July 14, 2012
Courtrooms are a typical workplace for lawyers.
Courtrooms are a typical workplace for lawyers. | Source

(Updated March 27, 2012) Lawyers, who are also called attorneys, advocate for their clients in legal proceedings, negotiations or transactions. Training for the profession requires at least a four-year college degree and then three years of law school. Graduates must then pass their state bar exams before they can practice the profession.

Lawyers make a mean pay of $62.74 per hour or $130,490 per year, though median salaries can descend to $26.02 per hour or $54,120 per year, or ascend to $80.20 per hour or $166,810 per year. Job prospects are average, with a 10 percent total growth expected until 2020. All information is as of 2011 from the U.S. Department of Labor.


If you count the District of Columbia as a state, which the Labor Department does, then it has the best mean state pay for its 29,010 lawyers: $77.43 per hour or $161,050 per year.

  • Otherwise, California takes the top honors at $75.27 per hour or $156,570 per year, and also boasts the most attorneys at 67,260.
  • Delaware is next in pay with $72.74 per hour or $151,290 per year, but only has 2,850 positions.
  • New York follows with $72.63 per hour or $151,080 per year. It also offers the second highest employment opportunity with 65,070 jobs.


San Jose, California, lands in the top metro spot for the highest paid lawyers in America, with mean salaries of $89.96 per hour or $187,110 per year.

  • It is followed by Danbury, Connecticut, at $87.32 per hour or $181.630 per year, and San Francisco, California, at $84.20 per hour or $175.130 per year.
  • However, total opportunities for these three cities are barely half that of Los Angeles with its 23.210 attorney jobs. This second largest city in the U.S. is ranked sixth for salaries at $80.43 per hour or $167.300 per year.
  • Next is New York City, with mean wages at $79.54 per hour or $165.440 per year, but with the greatest number of jobs at 50.360.

Rural Areas

Pay in non-metropolitan areas is generally close to or greater than the national average, though employment is sparse.

  • Top honors go to rural New Hampshire at a mean $46.65 per hour or $97,040 per year for 610 positions.
  • Southwestern Montana shows $34.94 per hour or $72,670 per year for 650 lawyers.
  • West Central Kentucky has $34.22 per hour or $71,180 per year for its 680 attorneys.


Not surprisingly, the biggest employers of attorneys are legal services, which consists of law offices and comprise 372,030 jobs. However, they are not the top for pay at $65.95 per hour or $137,170 per year.

  • That distinction goes to petroleum and coal products manufacturing, where salaries reach $103.73 per hour or $215,760 per year for 350 attorneys.
  • Motor vehicle manufacturing pays $90.08 per hour or $187,360 per year for an unspecified number of positions.
  • Specialty hospitals, not including psychiatric and substance abuse, have mean wages of $88.75 per hour or $184,610 per year for 50 positions.

Trial Lawyer Careers


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)